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Pakistan tipped off US about bin Laden compound, minister claims

media Journalists and residents approach the bin Laden compound Reuters/Akhtar Soomro

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called for the world's help in fighting "terrorism and extremism", during a visit to Paris which followed the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Pakistani Foreign Minister Salman Bashir has claimed that his country’s secret services, the ISI, told the US in 2009 that bin Laden’s compound was suspicious.

The ISI had tipped off the Americans but the resources of the US’s CIA were needed to determine wether the villa in Abottabad was an Al-Qaeda hideout, said Bashir. He angrily rejected claims by CIA chief Leon Panetta working with Islamabad “could have jeopardised the mission”.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

US officials have criticised Pakistan and questioned whether elements in Pakistan’s military and intelligence had known about the compound for five years and were providing a “support system” to the world’s most wanted man.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office called the raid an “unauthorised unilateral action” on Tuesday.

France may withdraw its troops from Afghanistan before 2014, Foreign Minister Alain Juppé told RFI’s sister TV station, France 24, after meeting Gilani on Tuesday. He also insisted that there must be cooperation with Pakistan, adding that Gilani had admitted that the operation showed a failure on the part of Pakistani security services.

The rest of the world shares the blame for the intelligence failure, Gilani said Wednesday.

"There is intelligence failure of the whole world, not Pakistan alone," he told reporters in Paris.

France could suffer reprisals for bin Laden’s death, Interior Minister Claude Guéant told RTL radio Thursday.

“Al Qaeda is a very decentralised organisation,” Guéant pointed out, warning that groups linked to it could take action against any country linked to the US-led presence in Afghanistan.

Over 300 armed police, as well as a smaller number of soldiers, are reported to have clamped a security cordon around the bin Laden compound Wednesday, subjecting residents to ID checks and body searches.

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